Hitting the turf

Quarterback Jonah Young leads the first-team offense in the last drill of the day Aug. 20.

Harrison Epstein harrison@glenrockind.com

Drills and conditioning. When it comes to football season, the best ways to prepare are with drills and conditioning and that’s exactly what Glenrock High School is doing. First-year head coach Ryan Collier and his assistant coaches ran the practice in four phases, utilizing different drills to prepare their players for the upcoming season.
“We’ve got to get ourselves out of summer shape and into football shape,” Collier said. “This couple weeks has got to be really hard, its got to be really stressful for them on their bodies physically.”
The first quarter of practice was set aside for defensive position drills — defensive backs and the defensive line in each endzone with linebackers at midfield. The defense worked through of handful of schemes, preparing for in-game switches between man and zone coverage if the game dictates it.
Then came catch the rabbit. For catch the rabbit, the defense was sorted into the first, second and third units. The coaches would send one of the practice squad players, or other coaches, in a dead sprint down one of the sidelines. The defensive players couldn’t stop until they got at least one hand on the “rabbit.”
The drill emphasized the importance of angles, making sure that tacklers knew the best routes to take to prevent scores. For offense, the team was split in half, the linemen in one endzone and the skill players on the opposite side. Being Glenrock, a majority of the offensive skill work was spent practicing different run formations and handoffs.
At the front of the half-dozen running backs who’ll be vying for playing time was Jonah Young. Young is a junior and manned the first-team offense throughout practice. Despite also spending time working on the finer points of route running and passing, Young is expecting to continue Glenrock’s football traditions.
“We run it down their throats. We never stop and that’s what we’re good at,” Young said.
With each run through the drill, and hands-on adjustments from the players and Collier, every facet of the offense got smoother and more controlled. This doesn’t mean though that the team is game-ready by their second full practice. Collier emphasized his team’s youth as both a strength and a weakness, each mistake in practice is an opportunity to tune-up everyone’s movements for the games.
With gusting winds and a setting sun, Collier had his guys end practice with full offense play scrimmages, going up and down the field with runs and passes to simulate a two-minute drill. While the first-team offense ran plays, everyone else was 10 yards behind them, sprinting forward to the line of scrimmage with every completed play.
After some post-practice stretches and a request from Collier that his players drink more water and be ready for the next practice. School’s back in session and it’s just a matter of time until Friday Night Lights descends upon Glenrock. The Herders are coming off a 7-3 season and looking to improve this year. Young led a group of returning players in drills over the summer that are returning to the 2019 squad.
“We had a big group of guys that stuck together and that group’s still here,” he said.
The team’s first scrimmage of the year is on Aug. 30 in Pine Bluffs, their first official game is Sept. 6 at Torrington. The Herder faithful’s first opportunity to support their team at home will be the following week against Newcastle. 


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